Since its founding in 1970, the National Resources Defense Council has been a powerful force in protecting our environment and all the critters that fill our world. Today, NRDC is considered one of the most effective environmental action organizations due to its successful mix of legal action, scientific studies and dedicated members. One of their current, creative efforts towards helping animals is Green Gifts. This service lets you pick an environmental or animal rights initiative and donate money in your name or as a gift. The hardest part is choosing just one worthy cause! Check 'em all out now.
Animal in Need: Polar Bears
The Issue: Polar bears love spending time on the ice and depend on arctic flows to help them hunt and travel. As global warming increases, these animals are losing their much needed ice and are being put into danger as a result. Over the past several years, polar bear drownings, starvation and cub deaths have increased due to the disappearing ice.
Your Donation Will: Help fight for polar bear protection in court from global warming, Arctic oil development and trophy hunting.
Fun Fact: Even though female polar bears weigh 650 pounds on average, cubs usually weigh less than a pound when they are born and are about the size of a rat.
Your Donation: $35
Animal in Need: Buffalo (Bison)
The Issue: Yellowstone National Park is home to a large number of the country's buffalos. In the park these animals are protected and allowed to roam freely. Often buffalo leave the boundaries of the park to give birth or search out food, where they can be slaughtered by government agents. Thousands have died over the past decade.
Your Donation Will: Assist in ensuring protection for buffalos inside and outside Yellowstone National Park.
Fun Fact: The buffalo's thick coat is so insulated that snow can settle on their back without melting.
LAST OF THEIR KIND
Animal in Need: Beluga Whale
The Issue: There are only 340 Belugas left in Alaska's waters. This rapidly decreasing species is faced with threats like pollution and industrial development that could easily wipe them out.
Your Donation Will: Work to create protection for Alaska's endangered Beluga whale for now and the future.
Fun Fact: Belugas were given the nick name "sea canaries" by sailors because of their tendency to sing to one another for communication.
Animal in Need: Otters
The Issue: Otters need a little help keeping their furry faces safe. Marine reserves are appearing along the California coast to assit in protecting otter habitats. Unfortunately, there are still many areas where these animals are at risk.
Your Donation Will: Build a network of marine reserves across California to revitalize and care for otters and other marine life.
Fun Fact: Male otters are called meowters, while female otters are queens. Meow meow, we approve!
LEADER OF THE PACK
Animal in Need: Wolves
The Issue: Last year, Congress removed endangered species protection rights from most of the wolves of the Northern Rockies. This action leaves these animals vunerable to state officials interested in killing hundreds of them. Now it is up to groups like the NDRC to monitor states and make sure they keep their commitments to protecting the wolf population.
Your Donation Will: Assit the NDRC in keeping watch over these animals and help them introduce ranchers to non-violent ways to deal with wolves.
Fun Fact: Wolves aren't just related to dogs, they are also related to cats, bears, sea lions and raccoons.
Animal in Need: Grizzly Bears
The Issue: Industrial development is destroying and separating the Grizzly bear's natural habitat in the Northern Rockies. An increasing number of bears are being put at risk and the species is decreasing at a dangerous rate.
Your Donation Will: Help fight to protect the 1,500 bears lefts in the lower 48 states and build back their numbers.
Fun Fact: Grizzly bears can climb trees, but lose the ability as they age due to claw growth.
SAVE A SONGBIRD
Animal in Need: Songbirds including warblers, thrushes, raptors and more.
The Issue: Logging and tar sand mining projects are threatening Canada's Boreal Forest and putting 30 per cent of North American land birds at risk. The forest is the location of over 3 billion songbirds who migrate each spring to breed, and these developments could be devastating to their populations.
Your Donation Will: Go to the legal efforts for saving the Boreal Forest and the billions of birds it houses.
Fun Fact: Many eagles also call the Boreal forest home. When they return home in the Spring, it's always to the same nest with their life long mate.
Animal in Need: Caribous
The Issue: The caribou's home in the Arctic Refuge is being threatened by oil companies looking to drill near important water sources. Allowing these developments could put this animal and many others at risk.
Your Donation Will: Help fight the oil companies' plans to drill in the Arctic Refuge and prevent devastating oil spills.
Fun Fact: Caribou are the only kind of deer where both the males and females grow antlers.
Animal in Need: Gray Whales
The Issue: Every year, Gray whales migrate thousands of miles to San Ignacio Lagoon on Mexico's Baja Peninsula. This lagoon is the last undisturbed whale nursery in the world, but now companies are looking to build in the area and potentially harm this precious nursery.
Your Donation Will: Help permanently secure over 500,000 acres of the nursery and make it off limits to any development.
Fun Fact: Gray whales used to be called "devilfish" for the way the fiercely protected their young from danger.
Animal in Need: Bees
The Issue: Pesticides are having devastating effects on the bee population, taking out 30-50% of the insect's population last winter. Keeping the bees we have now is extremely important since roughly one out of every three bites of food is made possible by bee pollination.
Your Donation Will: Aid NRDC's legal team in protecting bees and try to prevent pesticide use harmful to them.
Fun Fact: Honey bees never sleep.